There is still hope on the horizon for gaming legalization in Thailand, despite the entropy so far. Expert Daniel Cheng notes that things should accelerate this month, “following the swearing in of the new cabinet and after the 35 House committee members are appointed in September.”

Daniel Cheng
Daniel Cheng

All the cards appear to still be on the table, but the possibility for online gaming could have suffered a blow recently due to the “spate of scams/money laundering cases in Southeast Asia linked to online gambling,” notes Cheng. The option was included in the parliamentary extraordinary committee report, meaning that it will at least be discussed, but there’s no guarantee it can pass.

The location of potential integrated resorts (IRs) within the country is also still in the wind, with no new updates, begging the question of where operators are focusing their investments, however “all of them have reconnoitered the ground one way or another, just to different degrees”.

Cheng, the author of Japan Casino Uprising – an exposé on the nation’s long path to casino legalization, also notes that “all major bonafide operators have a good chance. If the five planned regions translate to eight to 10 ECs, then each of the top 10 global operators can each have their slice of the pie.”

And this move continues to garner support from the main political factions, with any destabilization “unlikely as bipartisan support remained strong and EC legislation is a strong economic development platform.”

But a major stone in the mill is the likelihood for local gambling, a cornerstone for any investors. Despite the moves by other regional authorities to ban local gambling, Thailand is appearing to stay the course and welcome its own local players.

Cheng notes that it’s “unlikely” the local gambling option will be derailed “as the lack of success of foreigner-only establishments in Vietnam and South Korea speaks for themselves.”

But quantifying the market is still difficult. “There are half a dozen or more studies done through the years,” notes Cheng, pointing out that “All will have to be revised based on current market conditions”. This includes the drawn-out political maneuvering which has stalled the much-expected casino legislation already.

“It will be different strokes for different folks depending on the strategy of each operator and the particular region they look at,” points out the expert – who regularly posts updates about the different regions being targeted and the benefits each holds.

As billions are resting on the outcome all eyes stay on Thailand, with the likelihood for positive developments this month.